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Longboat St. Regis sales hit $200 million

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

For the first time in more than a decade, there will be signs of life on the 17 acres of Longboat beachfront that once nestled the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort.

Following a blitzkrieg of sales, the developer of the future St. Regis Hotel and Condominiums that are destined for the site announced construction will start in mid-2021.

Chuck Whittall, President of Unicorp National Developments, said that not only has more than half of the 69 condominiums slated for the site been reserved with a deposit, what he says is the most expensive condo on the west coast of Florida, has been sold.

“We have deposits on 36 units as of today; we have sold over $200 million and collected more than $20 million in deposits,” Whittall told Longboat Key News on Friday, Oct. 9.

He said the penthouse has been sold for just shy of $20 million at $1,800 per square foot. That square foot price has held for many of the smaller units as well.

“The penthouse sale and the project in general will set a new bar for the West Coast of Florida,” said Whittall.

Real Estate firm Michael Saunders & Co. has had a very successful run since sales began in July. The project has capitalized on pent up demand and the fact that there is legacy interest in the property, as well as a desire to purchase in the region following much of the worst of the Covid crisis that was experienced in cities throughout the north and northeast of the United States.

“People do not want to go up north. Covid but a big punctuation mark on what a wonderful place Florida is to live,” said Whittall.

Because of Covid, Whittall says about 65% of the condos must be sold to secure the bank financing. Normally, the requisite presales are 50% to assuage bank financing requirements. He expects to cross the 65% threshold by the year’s end.

The entire project will be built as one — the hotel resort and condos all under the St. Regis moniker.

The building plans are nearly complete, says Whittall, and construction is due to begin next summer.

Whittall’s plans include the 69 residential units that will be built in three buildings on the southern side of the property, which includes more than 400 feet of beachfront. To the north a 166-room hotel is planned along with pools, spas, restaurants and numerous amenities that will cater to both guests as well as the residences.

The sales success is especially rewarding for Whittall who spent almost eight years in litigation to gain control of the property. The founder of the former Colony Beach & Tennis Resort, Murf Klauber, had sold the original 237 units one by one and deeded the units to individual owners while retaining the right to manage and rent the condos for 11 months out of the year.

Over time, the unit owner fought Klauber over assessments and dragged the resort into bankruptcy and closure. Unit owners sued Klauber, Klauber sued unit owners, Unit owners sued each other and eventually Whittle entered the fray. All the while in the backdrop the Colony stood fallow, decaying like a wooden graveyard of hospitality on the beachfront until the Town ordered its demolition.

Whittall eventually came to an agreement with a majority of owners to buy their units and yet could not come to terms with Andy Adams, who had amassed a controlling block of 74 units.

Following years of litigation, Adams and Whittle eventually came to terms for about $17 million and Whittall says Adams is paid and Unicorp is in control of those units.

Whittall says he will complete the purchase of the remaining units according to the contracts by end of November and at that point the Colony Condo will be terminated and he will own the entire property. It is then that he can submit his building plans to the Town of Longboat Key.

So after eight year fighting a myriad of interests would Whittall do it all over again?

Whittall said, “When I entered the mess at the Colony I was 44 years old. It was the battle of a lifetime. But now, eight years later, I have to say — once in a lifetime is enough.”

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1 Response for “Longboat St. Regis sales hit $200 million”

  1. […] OF THE WEEK$200 million For the first time in more than a decade, there will be signs of life on the 17 acres of Longboat […]

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